Health & Fitness, Fitness: workout to stay healthy

What is the purpose of a warm-up and how should it be performed?

Warming up is considered essential before any sporting activity. It is a basic rule that all athletes
learn, but why? And above all, how is it done properly? Here are some ideas for iFIT sessions to help
you warm up properly, as well as some advice so you’ll have no reason to skip your next session!

A transition between rest and workout

warm up diet muscle performance

At rest, the heart beats at about 80 beats per minute (BPM) and the body has an average
temperature of 37°C. A warm-up is a transition to more sustained activity, during which the body
warms up and the heartbeat can reach up to 150 to 170 BPM for intense activities, and around 120
to 140 BPM for more moderate exercise. Your goal is to facilitate this change of pace so that your
body adapts smoothly:
● Muscles perform at their best when they are at 38 or 39°C.
● Synovial fluid, the lubricant of the joints, is viscous when cold.
● Tendons are less elastic than muscles, so using them in the cold carries a risk of injury or
tendonitis in the long term.
● Muscles need oxygen to contract, a warm-up activates breathing and the heartbeat, the
blood vessels open due to the heat and various other factors.

The aim of a warm-up is, therefore, to prepare the body as well as possible for the exertion that will
follow. Taking a few minutes before an exercise session will help you to avoid injuries.
Beyond its physical effects, this preparation is an essential mental phase, so you can focus, visualise
yourself performing the movements, and put yourself in a position to be successful. The warm-up is
like a ritual that makes you feel safe, confident and ready to go. You will never regret taking the time
to warm up properly!

The right habits for a successful warm-up

outside jogging woman health cardio

A warm-up generally takes place in two stages, which you can carry out successively or alternately,
depending on your preferences, where you are training and your chosen exercises. You need to get
your heart rate up with vigorous activity, and you also need to stimulate the muscles and joints that
will be used during the session. The whole thing should be progressive.

Raising the temperature: the cardio warm-up

To increase your heart rate, several exercises are effective:
● Walking, swimming, cycling or rowing.
● Do dynamic bodyweight exercises, such as jumping jacks, knee raises or any other exercises
with jumps and quick position changes.
● Do a series of jumping jacks, which makes for a good way to start a session.
● Run on the spot or your treadmill, at a progressive pace, including a series of accelerations
and decelerations at the end of the warm-up.

Specific warm-up: muscles and joints

Replicating the movements you will perform during the session, carefully, at a lower intensity, is a
good way to warm up. Doing dynamic (moving) stretches of 6-8 seconds can also help you improve
your range of motion and prepare you for the workout ahead. Trust your instincts and never push
further than your body can handle.
At the end of a warm-up, you should start to sweat and feel energised. The minimum time you
should allow is between 5 and 15 minutes, but you can extend the warm-up for longer or perform
more intense activities.

Inspiration: 6 iFIT sessions for a good warm-up before exercise

sport coach fit outside exercise

To make sure you do your warm-up properly, use iFIT sessions led by experienced coaches:
● Niagara Falls Race Warmup: John Peel offers a 10-minute dynamic stretching series in
Ontario, Canada.
● The Quick Stretch series contains 16 stretching sessions with low impact movements
accessible to all. Try the hip activation exercises on a boat in the middle of the ocean
surrounded by icebergs.
● In the Dynamic Hips Warmup session, John Peel explains which warm-ups to do before a
sprint, an interval running session, uphill runs and so on.
● Hatha Practice presents the ideal foot and shoulder stretching movements before yoga,
explained by Nicole Meline.
● The Beginner Strength Training series on iFIT Daily features strength training ideas with
progressive difficulty, with coaching tips to ensure you do it right.
● The Jump Rope series on iFIT Daily gives you access to 3 x 10-12 minute cardio programmes
with a skipping rope to get your heart rate up quickly.

One last tip: in winter, remember to cover up so you don’t lose the heat energy you gained during
the warm-up.

For more information around health and fitness tips check out our other articles